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Showing 1-5 of 5 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 21 reviews
on October 20, 2004
I read the reviews on Amazon and checked out the Olympus and other recorders...nothing touches this one for usability. Therein lies some of the problem. I'm a techie and still can't use it in the dark when driving. As a master's student, it has proved invaluable in lecture. On the (CONF-Hi) setting, it easily picks up even the whiniest professor's voice at a 15 foot range. The main reason I purchased the ICD-BM1 was it's 5 Dragon award from Dragon Natually Speaking(DNS). I use DNS v7.3 and have found it trained easily and has around 95% accuracy (down a few points from another reviewer) probably because I impatiently read the 1 hr training script in 40 minutes. It's very small and extremely light. The case has two velcro'd places for additional memory sticks. However, since it can use 128mb (not pro)I rarely swap sticks. I use the 128 for class related info and the others for personal life - maybe that's why I rarely swap - I have no personal life. One more thing, it's fabulous with DNS for dictating emails while driving. This allows emailing to family friends that would otherwise not hear from me as often. Great product!!!!

When first setting up the unit I found the battery door was very difficult to get open - but dismissed it figuring how often would I be replacing batteries? It turns out the door has now become unstable and sits in a slightly open position, popping open at will. When the batteries come out unnoticed, I have to reset the date/time etc.

After contacting Sony I learned that IF they determine it is a manufacturing defect versus user abuse, they will exchange the unit. The problem is... the unit received in exchange will not be new, rather it will be used (refurbished).

A warranty should repair or replace with a new unit - especially manufacturing defects. I'm disappointed in Sony.

Rather than do without the unit only to receive a used unit, I've decided to tape the door shut.
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on September 9, 2005
Microcassette portable dictating machines all have a single slide switch for Record/Stop/Playback/Rewind. Long experience has shown that is the best control mechanism for actually doing dictation vs. recording something. Most of the Sony and other brand portable flash-based recorders have buttons scattered all over them, making dictation a real pain. This model is the rare exception. It's not built quite as much like a tank as traditional microcassette units but it's lots more rugged than most of Sony's and other brand's "consumer" recorders. My major complaint is that the "insert" function is not as easy to get to as it should be, considering that is one of the most important features of a flash-based dictating machine.
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on December 9, 2016
Now I have used it for several days, a couple hours per day and I am not sure I like it anymore. I use it for a specific purpose: I dictate my youtube podcasts as I walk the dogs in the dark and I pause often to think. I prefer no to look at the screen and rely on beeps - to hear the beeps better and to hear my voice better I wear headphones. It seems to work.
CONS: every pause is recorded as a relatively loud click (sliding click). Not unpleasant but it clearly indicates the break in the time. I wish it didn't record the click.
CONS: initially, by default, it was really easy to make a mistake and overwrite what you just have recorded - by default the skip rocking controller is located next to the record slider and it was very easy to press it by mistake and rerecord over. It flashes a silent warning on the screen for 3 sec, but if you are not looking at the screen you are screwed. Now, I found a setting which allows to disable it, but still it manages somehow to skip back to the beginning on rewind-review (slider shifted all the way down) and then again there is a danger of losing the recording. Makes me angry. Otherwise the technology was very close to being perfect, but this flaw killed it. No wonder they took it off the production. This was a close to perfect design, but they didn't polish the interface to perfection. What a shame. Now we have tons of voice recorders which require that you look at them as you dictate, which is very inefficient and shouldn't be necessary.
Now I have downgraded my review from 5 stars to 3 stars and ordered a modern recorder. Will see if it is any better.
PROS: It feels good in the hand, some buttons and the shifter are pleasant on touch and reasonably convenient.
CONS: I had to affix the battery cover with a sticker, it opens and loses batteries. The charger makes noise and doesn't seem to charge the rechargeable batteries.

Love it! Good sound quality and the ability to operate blindly, without looking at it at all. It is perfect for recording at night or with poor vision or without any vision. I like to walk my dogs and record serious dictations for YouTube while taking pauses to think. I was looking for a dictaphone to operate blindly and take pauses and not worry that the dictation will be lost or would go off sync. This one is perfect for that. I don't think there is anything like this one on Amazon - the digital ones require the user to look at it every time, the tape ones have poor sound quality.
shifting sliding record switch - record /pause/ play/rewind. Easy return and rerecord. Easy and convenient delete.
Cons: I bought a used one and had to seal the battery compartment with a sticky tape.
CONS!!! - It records in MONSTROUS sony proprietary format MSV, it took some effort to figure out how to convert it:
Here is a converter [...]
Seems to be free for personal use.
It also required downloading a sony plugin here [...]
Once installed, the conversion went fine.
Surprisingly the Sony memory stick plugged in the laptop memory stick opening just fine. It seemed different, but apparently fits in fine.
CONS: the sound of the slider switch sound is recorded and bothers me. I don't want to edit it out.... So every time i pause the recording there is a lound slide click sound...

PS: The NCH software trial expired and I found SONY software to convert MSV files: [...]
Sound Organizer Ver.1.6, from SONY site, free. It is clumsy but works.
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on June 4, 2014
Good solid construction. Appears to be metal. Came with 128mb card, usb cord and disk. Works fine. My previous one lasted many years with daily use. Works on AAA batteries.
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on November 13, 2006
The transaction went fine. The product is comparatively far over priced. I was almost "drummed out" of an organization where I am the secretary, for spending that much on this item. We have a competitor's product for half the price, that rivals this Sony ICD-BM1 Recorder. Don't buy it!
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